Sunset Sail

Now that summer is here, you MUST add a sunset sail to your “to do” list! There is no better way to kick-start a fantastic evening than sailing around the Statue of Liberty, at sunset, with a glass of rose in hand! The sun reflecting into the skyscrapers around the harbor make the view unforgettable. A magical moment that’ll enhance that NY energy we love so much!

Manhattan by Sail, check their website for more info or to book online
Ticket Price: Adults $50. Cash bar or Open bar available for $20

5 mn with… Franck Raharinosy

Profession: Ping-Pong Entrepreneur


Who are you Franck?

I’m 34 years old. I was born in France and grew up in Reunion Island near Madagascar where my dad is from.

I came to New York for the first time in 1996 after finishing an internship in Los Angeles. I fell in love with this city from day one.

I have always been very creative and imaginative since a very young age, so after graduating from Business School I decided to go down a different road, traveling around the World and making documentaries. My first job was a non-paid internship at MTV, and I was also working in a couple night clubs. 

When did you start playing ping-pong?

First time I ever played was about 7 years ago. I grabbed a paddle and happened to win a little tournament in Tribeca at a loft party.  I didn’t play again for 3 years, till the day my best friend and roommate, Jonathan Bricklin, and I bought a rather expensive and very beautiful competition ping-pong table with a red arched base, like a rainbow, for our loft/office. Ever since, we’ve been very passionate about the game and have been playing nearly every day since.  We got so hooked that we started taking lessons with several professional ping-pong coaches, began going to tournaments, and then started our own tournament we called Naked Ping Pong. We called it “Naked” (no one was actually naked) merely to add some edge and make it a little sexier than people would normally expect a ping-pong party or tournament to be -3 or 4 years ago ping-pong was extremely un-cool.  We were playing so much ping pong that it was taking over our Filmmaking careers, and at a certain point, I was like “How are we even going to be pay our rent?” 

 

You opened SPiN about a year ago, why did you decide to open a ping-pong club?

When our loft got sold we had such a big following at The Naked Ping Pong parties, that we felt compelled to keep going and try to make it a real business and open our own club, with our ideal design and layout. We had gotten to know Susan Sarandon through my dear friend, who happens to be an extraordinary production designer, Franckie Diago. Susan was also introduced to us through, Andrew Gordon at The National Arts Club. Which is where I live. Andrew is retired investment banker, with a background in professional tennis, and a love for ping-pong.  They both became our partners and we’ve been having amazing time collaborating on SPiN ever since.

It’s more than a simple ping-pong club …

It’s inviting for everyone, every age and demographic and it has a variety of different uses at different times of the day.  We’re about to start exercise classes in the early morning.  During the day time we have the best ping pong coaches in the country that give lessons, then we have a happy hour, and corporate events till later in the evening when it becomes a very cool lounge, and on weekends, more like a night club.  We just introduced “Glow-in-the-dark” ping-pong last week, which is definitely bringing the SPiN experience to an all-new level…

Our food is amazing, we re introducing a summer menu that includes a dark chocolate shake, (it was my special request).

Our private room is the best place in town to have a party, super cosy with a great vibe and of course a ping-pong table.

What’s the crowd like?

Lots of famous and infamous people, I don’t want to be called a namedropper…

Lot’s of celebrities come to SPiN, who surprised you, the most as a ping-pong player?

After The Gorillaz closed Coachella they came to SPiN and played our Naked Ping-pong Tournament which we hold now every Tuesday at 9pm. Jonathan and I played Damon and his friend in double and they ended up beating us in a close match. Then the another night Jack Kevorkian came and played for hours…

 

 

Mike Myers by Zack McTee

 

Along we SPiN, Ping-Pong became fashionable… Do you think you started a new trend?

Ping Pong came out of the basement and players came out of the closet, meaning they weren’t shy anymore, they could say they love to play.

What does a city like NY bring to you?

The first time I came to New York, I loved it right away and felt something that I never felt before, a certain freedom and a strong energy that makes you think that anything is possible… 

What is your favorite place in the city?

I love Gramercy Park and going Surfing… I love water and can’t get enough… It’s because I grew up on an island.

Favorite restaurant?

Raoul on Prince Street

 

Catherine Keener by Zack McTee

 

What’s next? Any project?

A lot is happening! We’re franchising all over America and the World. 

Jonathan and I are producing this once in a lifetime event in June: SPiN Galactic, The World Champions! The evenings will be hosted by celebrity actor/ping pong player extraordinaire Judah Freidlander.  The crowd will be a mixture of elegantly styled, influential, trend setting taste makers, notable New Yorkers, and celebrity actor, director, writer, singer, ping pong aficionados, as well as die hard table tennis fans from across the country. You can buy the tickets on our website

We are also working a Docu-series, that should be very funny and inspiring. 

 

SPiN New York: 48 East 23rd Street @ Park av. Tel: 1 212 980 1404

 

   

Color Do Brasil

Along with the sun comes Color do Brasils latest collection. Right on time for beach season, French designer Amanda de Montal presents her 5th collection of Brazilian- inspired sexy swimsuits. For the lucky Butterflies who want to be irresistible this summer, note that a private sale is taking place from April 29th to 30th at 153 Lafayette street (11am to 7pm). You’ll find a large selection of swimsuits, wraps and other accessories.

Visit the “goodies” section of NYButterfly to see the invitation to the private sale. And for more info about the collection check Color Do Brasils website.


5 mn with… Ben Towill and Phil Winser

Profession: Partners of Silkstone


Who are you guys?

Ben Towill, 26: I started my career as a chef in the kitchen’s of Raymond Blanc (of Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons) at the age of 16, working daily side by side with him.  From there I went on to Rick Stein’s in Cornwall where I learnt everything possible about seafood, how to fish for it, prepare in and cook it! Gordon Ramsay’s empire was my next step, first in London then New York where I was picked to head up a team at his new restaurant and then personally accompany Gordon on his Nationwide TV tour for Gordon’s Kitchen Nightmares.  Once in New York I opened the popular restaurant – the Kingswood and a year later left to start Silkstone with Phil.

Phil Winser, 25:  I’m a Event Planner and Designer for Silkstone. I have trained in the hospitality industry since I was 14, with one of my first events being at the British Royal Palace I have experienced the highest echelon of service. Their attention to detail and unmistakable perfection inspired me to enter into the hospitality industry. I spent a considerable time with London’s finest event planners – Admiral Crichton Events and Catering – putting on huge production events all over the world.  I also worked at Party Ingredients where I learnt the highest level of planning, management and service through high profile events at locations such as the British Royal Palace.

How or why did you decide to work in the food industry?

Ben: I grew up in-between British Countryside and Coast, where I developed a real understanding of what it takes to produce and source ingredients that not only taste of the highest quality but are produced with integrity and passion.  My family have also been macrobiotic for years, which has been a great influence and inspiration in my cooking and approach to food.

Phil: Coming from a family who’s life (work and play) has been centered around looking into the worlds geography and ecology, I have always been passionate about building a sustainable future. I have also always loved food and in particular the fact that it brings together everyone and provides a great platform for great conversations and even better times.  I have always sourced my food locally (ideally growing it from home) so have realized and enjoyed the benefits of this using local or homegrown quality produce for cooking for a long time. Design is another major part of my life, having followed restaurant, hotel and bar design especially closely my whole life.

When was Silkstone born and what is the concept?

Silkstone officially started in October 2008, but we first thought of it together at school at the age of 16. Silkstone is committed to delivering creative, innovative and sustainable food, lifestyle and design concepts, focused on events, restaurants and developing brands through unique experiences. It is born from the notion that there are two essential ingredients to the service industry:  The stone represents the intensive labor, integrity and commitment, and the silk reflects the creativity, innovation and elegance in which this is presented.

Do you just do large events for private clients or companies or do you do small dinner parties too?

As a comprehensive event planning, design, production and company we look after every aspect to an event, including the catering but do also love being part of the intimate surroundings of a small dinner party too.

Ben, tell me a bit about Silkstone menus.

For our events and catering company we approach every event individually, continually looking for the most seasonal, fresh ingredients.  The journey of farm to plate and the integrity of the ingredients are key to us so we are consistently in touch with our suppliers to get an understanding on how their produce is that very week.  We listen to the clients ideas and try and expand it further, referencing it throughout the food, drink and cocktail offerings but always keeping it true to Silkstone offering balanced, light fresh, intensely flavorful bites. A typical Silkstone meal would be:

Start off party with a cocktail of elderflower, cucumber, and lemongrass vodka, along with a few light bites such as lobster ceviche with passion fruit curd and threads of crispy ginger.  

Then we would move on to the shared dishes passed around communal tables using seasonal ingredients. For example: crisp market vegetables with anchovy and chili dressing.   A salad of sugar snap peas, mint, balsamic caramelized spring onions, pea shoots and baby lettuces all sourced from the nearby Yuno’s farm. A beetroot and Swiss chard crumble that is a savory take on a classic with clothbound cheddar, oats and hazelnuts.  Also as whole grains are such an important part of our menus we would include bulgur wheat tabouleh with kale and blue foot mushrooms.

To finish, it would have to be a berry and pistachio Eton mess (meringue and fresh whipped cream) served in mason jars.

This industry is very challenging in a city like NY, there are so many great restaurants and chefs… what’s the key to success?

Personal service and attention to detail, hard-working happy staff and passionate owners. Simplicity and quality throughout – the food, the design, the service.

Where would you recommend to go food shopping in the city?

Great food shopping can be found all over the city but my one of the most easily accessible places for fresh and quality food can be found at Union square market first thing in the morning. Also the fish market in the Bronx is fantastic for the freshest, flavour-filled and cost-effective fish – but be prepared for a 2am start!  Finally the Essex street market always has some great local producers all year round.

What does a city like NY bring to you?

Ben:  For me, NY is a great place because it is so full of opportunity and life which is not only very beneficial for a start-up company but really inspiring and positive.

Phil: The energy, I feel that anything is possible here and there is always something fun to do.

What is your idea of a perfect day in NY?

Ben: My perfect day would consist of getting up early on a Sunday, its amazingly peaceful as no one in the city is awake! Take the world with the Sunday newspapers (and girly magazines!), maybe heading out for bike ride over to Brooklyn for a wander around the flea market to sample some local delights then as the sun comes down heading back to the city for some rooftop cocktails.

Phil: When I have a bit of a headache – I love to walk around downtown New York, visiting the Russian baths, then heading  to Souen or Japanese for some healthy, light and delicious dinner and then maybe rounding off with a night at the movies – in the summer ideally an open air rooftop cinema. But Its quite fun getting the headaches as well – as they are usually from my great friends bar Apotheke in China Town!

What is your favorite place in the city?

Ben: Visiting Roberta’s in Bushwick for some locally sourced, family style food.  I love the open fire pit outside too!

Phil: The Russian baths on 10th Street is my favorite place and I love hosting a dinner party.

What’s next? Any project?

We have several very fun and quirky weddings in Hamptons coming up which will be great as well as a series of events with a luxury brand (but just in negotiations so can’t reveal the name as yet!)

Also Silkstone have recently been appointed exclusive partners with one of New York’s premiere event spaces – Stephen Weiss studios. A great venue that has had everyone from Def Jam to the Dalai Lama come play & talk. The event space has been developed by Donna Karan whose core principles on design and sustainable, healthy eating marry seamlessly with ours, providing the perfect platform for some great events in 2010!

Lastly, but definitely not least we are building out our restaurant in the lower east side which is due to open in June!  It will be serving modern seasonal British cuisine, which is healthy but still innovative and creatively presented.

Silkstone offices are located 17 Orchard Street, 2nd floor. Tel: 1.646.861.1545. For more info check their Website

New York ArtBus

After its success in London, the ArtBus has crossed the Atlantic. This bus takes art lovers to galleries, artists’ studios, and private spaces around the city’s 5 boroughs. One Sunday a month, jump onto this school bus, and discover various emerging artists whose works and creativity help make New York such a vibrant, cultural city.

Find out more information on the ArtBus website. The next tour will be on April 25thfrom 3pm till 6pm. Price: $50 donation to support emerging artists.


MONA KUHN: NATIVE Opening reception and artist talk

“Native”, Mona Kuhn’s new show is opening tonight at Flowers Gallery in Chelsea.

This exhibit features her latest series of photographs also published in a new book –Native (Steidl, Winter 2009/10).

Acclaimed photographer, Mona Kuhn returns from her birthplace, Brazil, with sensual images of captivating nudes, dense jungle landscape, and sparse interior of an abandoned apartment. 

MONA KUHN: NATIVE from April 9th – May 15th, 2010
Opening reception Thursday, April 8th from 6 – 8 pm
Artist talk: Saturday April 10 at 3 pm
Flowers Gallery is located 529 West 20th St. Tel: 1 212 439 17 00